Sami Bollag
​Zurich, Switzerland
2012 KH Yakir Award recipient

Sami Bollag with the Yakir Award and from left to right: Greg Masel, KH Director general ; Julia Koschitzky, KH Honorary President ; Moodi Sandberg, KH World Chairman and Yohanna Arbib-Perugia, Chair of KH World Board of Trustees

On June 18, 2012, our dear friend Sami Bollag was awarded the 2012 Yakir Keren Hayesod Award by President Shimon Peres and KH leadership. A highly successful businessman in the fashion sector, Sami has served as President of Keren Hayesod Switzerland since 2001 and  was Chairman of the KH 2005 World Conference Steering Committee.  A generous philanthropist, he sits on Keren Hayesod Executive and on the JAFI Board of Governors. The living soul of a number of impressive social and cultural projects in Kedma Village, Beersheba and Rehovot, amongst others, Sami is also co-President of the P2G Partnership in Rehovot.

The worldwide KH family wishes to express its gratitude and appreciation to Sami, who just celebrated a few days ago his 70th birthday, for his many years of inspiring leadership and generosity and to wish him, Anette and their daughters continued achievement in health and happiness.

Sami Bollag, first from left, with all other 2012 Yakir Award recipients and President Peres

Sami Bollag was born in Lucerne, Switzerland, in 1942, into a religious family. As a war child, he still remembers the ubiquitous sirens. He planned to become a rabbi, but eventually changed course and entered the clothing business after completing his military service.

He studied business and gained practical experience in Great Britain, after which he joined his father's business. In 1974, he decided to move the company's offices to Zurich. At the same time, he became involved in the community as a member of the synagogue's board.

The turning point of his professional career came in 1978, when he was introduced to the owner of the San Francisco company Esprit, which would be his professional home for the next 25 years.

Professional success was soon followed by personal happiness. In 1982, he met the woman who was destined to become his wife, Anette, at a KH Young Leadership event in Davos. Since then, the couple, whose generosity and love for Israel and the Jewish people are limitless, have been inseparable.

Sami and Anette, an inspiring source of optimism (Photo: Jack Smorgon AO)


Sami is the father of three daughters, Marina, from a previous marriage, and Stephanie and Amanda from his marriage to Anette, who have followed in their parents' footsteps and are highly committed to Jewish and Zionist causes.

After 25 years with Esprit, Sami, who speaks six languages, established a new company, which he still heads today, which handles the distribution of international brands as Guess, Stefanel and Marc O'Polo.

Sami's involvement with KH goes back to 1980, when former IDF Chief Rabbi, Mordechai Piron, then Chief Rabbi of Zurich, put him in contact with the KH representative there. This was the beginning of decades of involvement, dedication and generosity, which were reflected at the Kedma Youth Village, as well as in projects in Beersheva, Rehovot and all over Israel. Sami joined the local KH board and has been KH Switzerland Chairman since 2001, exemplifying our organization's highest values. He currently sits on KH Executive and the JAFI Board of Governors, and also plaus a leading role in Partnership 2000.

For his leadership, generosity and unswerving devotion to Israel and its people. Sami Bollag is most deserving of being a Yakir Keren Hayesod Award recipient.